Obviously, with a title like that, you know this post is gonna be a celebratory one, right? Of course, you do!
Having a non-verbal child with autism brings new meaning to the phrase “hangs on every word.”
When you have a child that speaks so infrequently that they are considered non-verbal, if one of those rare special moments happen when they are able to say something – any little thing – well… words cannot describe how happy it makes you as a parent.
(Fair warning: this post was written by a person in a happy rambling state of mind.)
Yesterday I told Ella, “I love you” and she told me “I love you too” with her mouth closed. This is not new, she’s done this before. Not often, but she has.
I don’t recall if I’ve written about her talking with her mouth closed on the blog before. But, it’s just what it sounds like. Try to say something, but don’t open your lips. Sometimes (especially if you know what the other person is likely trying to say), it is understandable. Even Ella’s speech therapist has witnessed her attempts at speech with her mouth closed. I don’t know why she does this, she never did it before she had autism. So I think it is her trying to speak and for whatever reason, her mouth/lips/etc/ don’t cooperate for her like they should. I think she remembers how to speak, but just can’t physically make it happen like she used to. I believe that something physically stops her, be it in her brain, or her mouth or what, I don’t know. But that’s what I think. At least that is my theory.
This evening Emma told me that she was singing a song to Ella and when she sung the word “man”, she was sure Ella said, “man”. So I went upstairs, to where they were, to see if maybe she would talk again.
I came into the room and sat on my bed and she got very excited. She climbed up onto my lap. She leaned against me so hard, laid her head against me and said, “Mom.”
She had to work to get it out, but she really said it perfectly. There were no sounds before it, or after it. And it even had the “m” sound at the end. It wasn’t just “maaaaaa” like she has done in the past. This was just “Mom”.
I told her, “I heard you, baby! I heard you say, Mom!”
(I always let her know if I heard her trying to say something, but usually I’m saying “I hear you trying to say something but I can’t understand it, just keep trying baby and I’ll keep trying to figure it out.” I do this because I want her to know that even when I can’t understand what she said, that I understand that she is trying and I want to encourage her and let her know that I am trying really hard to understand. I hope that this both encourages her and eases her frustration a little. It must be so very frustrating not being able to talk, especially after she used to talk so well before autism. The moments that she is even able to attempt speech are so rare, that I want to encourage her however I can.)
I snuggled her for a bit, then she decided she was ready to get up and play again. She played for a little bit, then she came back and climbed onto my lap again.
I said, “I love you, Ella.” And she said, “I love you.”
It was a little tiny bit slurred, but her mouth was open and it was understandable to everyone in the room! Will gasped and said, “Mom, She said I LOVE YOU!” I said, “I know. I know!” We were all so excited!
I quickly told her, “I heard that!!! I heard you say I love you!!!”
As happy tears poured down my face, she turned and tipped her head sideways, giving me a curious look.
She was wondering why I was crying.
(Silly me! I’ve got to stop that! I don’t want her thinking her talking makes me sad!)
I quickly told her, “I’m ok. Mommy is ok, baby. I am happy! So happy you talked to me!” And I gave her a big squeeze and she was just grinning from ear to ear.
It made my day!!! It has been so very long since I have heard her say “Mom”.
I had a really tough day today. Loads of stress today. (Not Ella related, just other stuff.) And I cannot tell you how everything else just pales in comparison to the fact that Ella talked to me!
I already know that she loves me. Now that she is on the GFCF diet and *can* do things like smile again, whenever she is away for a few hours, be it at therapy or visiting my Mom & Dad or whatever, she is sooooo excited to see me when she comes home. Her whole face just lights up. It means so much, because I remember all too well the times when she couldn’t even look at me, much less smile. So whether she speaks or not, I do know that she loves me.
But it sure feels wonderful to hear it!